No Newspaper Bailout! Bailout News Instead

by Shawn Smith on September 21, 2009

Since bailouts became all the rage, a lot of journo’s have asked “where’s our bailout?” Where’s the bailout for the newspaper industry?

Looks like the buzz is getting a second wind as The Hill reports President Obama may be open to the idea of a bailout for the newspaper industry. The Hill cites an interview during which Obama told some newspaper editors he would be happy to view proposals.

Reports the Toledo Blade:

Several bills have been introduced in Congress to aid the newspaper industry, including a Senate measure that would allow newspaper companies to restructure as nonprofits with a variety of tax breaks. The President was noncommittal about the legislation but said: “I haven’t seen detailed proposals yet, but I’ll be happy to look at them.”

Sorry folks. This is ridiculous. It’s true, news organizations are necessary for a healthy government. However, newspapers are NOT.

Newspapers that go under fail for a reason, as is true with all businesses. Throwing money at a failing entity is like using a life boat with a hole in it. It might work for a little while, but you’ll still sink eventually.

Thankfully, the President is at least giving this some critical thought to the problem:

“What I hope is that people start understanding if you’re getting your newspaper over the Internet, that’s not free and there’s got to be a way to find a business model that supports that.”

I support the journalists and news industry in the United States. If a bailout is in the works for them, GREAT! But it better not be for newspapers. It should be for journalists (business classes?) and business models that work in the modern landscape.

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Newspapers Do Not Need a Tax Bailout | CloudAve
September 21, 2009 at 5:20 pm

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William M. Hartnett September 21, 2009 at 2:12 pm

I wouldn’t get too worked up about the president saying he’s “happy to look” at a proposal to provide tax breaks for newspapers that want to become non-profits. The idea hardly qualifies as a bailout in a world in which the government owns 60 percent of General Motors and backs it and other companies with tens of billions of dollars in direct federal loans.

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